Another reason to love Ed Begley, Jr.

“Hey, Cait! Is this what you do?” my dad called from across the house. He was watching football – it was Sunday, after all – and I was making headway with The Stand.

“Is what what I do?” I called back, not wanting to budge from my favorite reading chair.

“Come here,” he said, and I obeyed. “Look at this commercial.” He rewound the DVR and pressed play at the beginning of a Ford commercial. A woman explained to the camera how she was working to make the Ford Escape Hybrid a more eco-friendly car. There were a couple of laboratory action shots – foam in a beaker and the like.

“Yup. She’s probably a chemical engineer since she’s working with polymers,” I explained. “But she could totally be a materials engineer. That’s the kind of stuff I could do once I graduate.”

“Cool!” he said, then switched the television back to “live” for the football game. I’m not sure whether the “cool” was for the potential job diversity I am looking at, or if it was for the “eco-friendly” aspect of the car design.

You see, my parents are recent halfhearted converts to the green movement. Years of my encouragement to at least separate bottles and paperboard from the rest of the trash produced a variety of excuses from my parents, excuses that were peppered with comments regarding the obvious annoyingness of my behavior. Eventually my earnest “Yay, recycling!” nagging was met with silence in the hope that I’d shut up already about separating trash and go hug my trees in peace.

Ed Begley, Jr.

Ed Begley, Jr.

But now – now that Ed Begley, Jr., comes sashaying into my parents’ home three to four times a week flaunting the coolness of his ultra-green lifestyle on “Living with Ed” on the Planet Green television network, my dad is researching residential wind turbines and solar panels. Wind turbines and solar panels are very much part of a materials-oriented industry. Those monstrously large turbine blades need to be made from a material that’s stiff, relatively lightweight, and relatively inexpensive (to name a few critical properties), and then there are a variety of environmental conditions that need to be taken into consideration in their design. Who better to do this than a materials engineer?

Anyway, about my dad’s wind turbine and solar panel research: he realizes that this is a little ridiculous, considering the fact that he lives in an area with an average wind speed of about three miles per hour and maybe twenty sunny days a year. But still, Ed Begley, Jr., and his neighbor, Bill Nye the Science Guy, have my dad interested in helping to save the environment! I love Ed Begley, Jr.

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About Caitlin
I'm a senior Materials Science & Engineering student at The Ohio State University.

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